Tao Quotes on
Tao, the Way
Quotes from the Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Here are quotes from the Tao Te Ching, the Taoist classic, about Tao, the Way. To see the whole quoted chapter, click the chapter link within brackets.
Tao, the Mysterious Way
The Way that can be walked is not the eternal Way.
The Way is empty, yet inexhaustible, like an abyss!
Obscure, like muddy waters.
The Way is eternal. Until your last day, you are free from peril.
I do not know its name. I call it the Way. For the lack of better words I call it great.
The Way is ever nameless.
The great Way is all-pervading. It reaches to the left and to the right. All things depend on it with their existence. Still it demands no obedience.
It (Tao) is eternally without desire. So, it can be called small. All things return to it, although it does not make itself their ruler. So, it can be called great.
Words spoken about the Way have no taste. When looked at, there’s not enough to see. When listened to, there’s not enough to hear. When used, it is never exhausted.
Returning is the movement of the Way.
The light of the Way seems dim.
The progress of the Way seems retreating.
The straightness of the Way seems curved.
The Way is hidden and nameless. Still only the Way nourishes and completes.
The whole world says that my Way is great like nothing else. It is great because it is like nothing else. If it were like everything else, it would long ago have become insignificant.
Heaven’s Way does not contend, yet it certainly triumphs. It does not speak, yet it certainly answers. It does not summon, yet things come by themselves. It seems to be at rest, yet it certainly has a plan.
Heaven’s net is very vast. It is sparsely meshed, yet nothing slips through.
The nameless is the beginning of Heaven and Earth. The named is the mother of all things.
From now back to antiquity, its (Tao's) name has not been lost. Thereby, see the origin of all.
There was something that finished chaos, born before Heaven and Earth.
All things in the world are born out of being. Being is born out of non-being.
The world’s beginning is its mother. To have found the mother is also to know the children. Although you know the children, cling to the mother. Until your last day you will not be harmed.
Unity with Tao
Can you make your soul embrace the One and not lose it?
Hold on to the ancient Way to master the present, and to learn the distant beginning.
Knowledge of the eternal is all-embracing. To be all-embracing leads to righteousness, which is majestic.
I alone am different from the others, because I am nourished by the great mother.
The greatest virtue is to follow the Way utterly.
The sage embraces the one, and is an example to the world.
Hold on to the great image, and the whole world follows, follows unharmed, content and completely at peace.
If I have just an ounce of sense, I follow the great Way, and fear only to stray from it.
Profound virtue is indeed deep and wide. It leads all things back to the great order.
When Tao Is Lost
When the great Tao is abandoned, benevolence and righteousness arise.
Things exalted then decay. This is going against the Way. What goes against the Way meets an early end.
The great Way is very straight, but people prefer to deviate.
Tao Quote Categories
Here are the 388 quotes extracted from the Tao Te ching, sorted by topics. Each quote has a reference to its chapter in the book.
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